Camembert de Normandie, Neufchâtel, Livarot and Pont-l’Evêque need no introduction, but did you know that Normandy is actually home to 40 cheeses? Many of them are well-kept secrets and hard to find even over here in Normandy, but with a bit of luck you may get to taste a few of the five following fromages the next time you visit our yummy part of France!
Fleurs de France
Take a good look at the photo below. That’s right, Fleurs de France cheese is shaped like our wonderful country! If you’re already a fan of Neufchâtel, then you most certainly are going to love this cheese. It is also produced in the Pays de Bray area of Normandy and has the same very salty, mushroomy taste with a grainy texture. This hidden gem is definitely worth taking back home with you to impress your fellow cheese lovers!
Le Coup de Pied au Cul
Warning: Contains strong language! Un coup de pied au cul literally means ‘a kick in the ass’ – it’s even written in English on the label. Created in 1950, this cheese is undoubtably one of the strongest you’ll come across. It is made with love in the village of Saint-Benoît-d’Hébertot in the Pays d’Auge (that’s cheese and cider country for those of you who don’t know) and isn’t for the faint-hearted. This fruity, creamy cheese has a pungent aroma due to being washed in Calvados apple brandy for several weeks, and has a soft, runny, interior due to maturing for two and a half months before hitting the shelves.
Here’s another cheese with a wacky name for you, also produced by the Fromagerie Maître Pennec in Saint-Benoît-d’Hébertot. Le Gratte-Cul is a colourful, herb-coated cheese whose name translates as ‘ass-scratcher.’ Its label may be zesty, and the cheese may look spicy, but it’s actually quite mild, with a slightly chewy texture. It’s made from pasteurised cows’ milk, then coated in dried basil, tarragon and parsley. Even if you’re not fond of the name, you’re bound to love the taste!
This cheese is quite simply named after Normandy’s most famous seaside resort. It was created in 1986 and is still produced at the Fromagerie de la Houssaye in Saint-Pierre-en-Auge, which incidentally was founded in 1810 by a certain Michel Fromage – you couldn’t make it up! This cheese dairy mainly specialises in producing Livarot and Pont-l’Evêque alongside this lesser-known treat. Deauville cheese has a strong aroma to it, but the taste is pretty mild, and its texture is creamy, silky smooth, and perfect washed down with a glass of Normandy cider!
L’écrou du Fromager
Shaped like a metal nut, this cheese certainly stands out! It was created just a few years’ ago in Moyon-Villages, ten miles south of Saint-Lô in the Manche département. Unlike the four cheeses mentioned above, it is made from goats’ milk, which comes from a herd of over 400 animals grazing on lush green Normandy pastures. Anyone who loves goats’ cheese is bound to enjoy this quirky, tasty treat!
For more information on Normandy food and drink, visit the Normandy Tourism website.
Cover photo © Le Guide du Fromage | Text: B. Collier / Normandy Tourism